About The Siroff Group

General

Services

Glossary

Site Map

About The Siroff Group

I would like to secure your services. What do I need to do?

The first step is to contact The Siroff Group. Either over the phone or in person, an investigator will review the specific details of your case in order to recommend appropriate tactics and discuss rates. You will then be asked to complete a standard retainer agreement and submit it with the specified retainer payment.

How soon can The Siroff Group begin working on my case?

In most situations, an investigator can start your case upon receipt of your signed retainer agreement and the agreed upon retainer payment.

What are the Siroff Group's rates?

Rates vary according to the nature of the assignment. Cases that require surveillance or field work are charged an hourly rate, plus mileage and expenses. Cases that do not require field work are assigned a flat fee.

What is a retainer agreement?

A retainer agreement is a written contract drawn between The Siroff Group and its clients that outlines our responsibilities to each other. It defines the services we agree to provide and documents the terms of payment. A retainer amount is set based on the anticipated costs of your case. If the information you seek is acquired in less time, you will be refunded the balance of your retainer amount.

What if you do not use the entire retainer amount?

If the information you seek is acquired in less time, you will be refunded the balance of the retainer amount.

Does that mean that you cannot accept cases in other states?

No. While we the majority of our case work does originate in and around the DC Metro area, the Siroff Group has conducted investigations across the country and around the world.

I've hired you for a case. What can I expect?

You will be assigned an investigator who will advise you on your case. Together you will determine how the surveillance will be conducted. Following the surveillance, you will be provided a detailed report that includes the times, locations, and activities observed.

How many agents do you typically use on a surveillance case?

The number of agents used depends on a number of factors. For basic surveillance where a subject is being followed from home or an uncomplicated work situation, it may only require one agent. However in more complicated scenarios, such as following a subject from a high rise apartment building, an office with multiple entries/exits, an airport, or hotel we strongly recommend additional agent(s) for optimal results. Other times where we may recommend a second agent include situations that include fast, aggressive drivers, subjects who may be alert to being watched, or a crowded event. While an additional agent does increase the cost of a surveillance, it can sometimes facilitate a surveillance case as it often helps accelerate our ability to procure and validate the information you seek. Based on your personal circumstances, The Siroff Group will assess and recommend an approach that best serves your needs, budgets, and situation.

General

What is a private investigator?

A private investigator is a person who for hire investigates and provides information. In the District of Columbia, it is required that private investigators be licensed and bonded. Only authorized, licensed investigators are able to conduct surveillance operations or engage in undercover work. Investigators are also permitted to search for individuals including missing persons, witnesses or criminal offenders, and have the ability to search for physical items such as property or assets.

Who can hire a private investigator?

Private investigators may be hired by individuals, companies, corporations, organizations, lawyers, Government agencies, law enforcement - virtually anyone who wishes to obtain specific information. Some investigators specialize in civil or domestic cases, while others limit their services to corporate and/or criminal matters. The Siroff Group is equipped to handle both.

Why should I hire a private investigator?

Simply put, to find answers. The Siroff Group are trained specialists, capable of acquiring insights about the identity, habits, conduct, activities, location, affiliations, associations, transactions, or character of an individual, group, or company. In legal, private, and corporate situations, The Siroff Group can conduct investigations in order to ascertain the credibility of a witness or suspect; conduct background checks on a potential employee or tenant, locate the whereabouts of missing persons; identify the location or recovery of lost or stolen property; prove adultery or infidelity, or pinpoint the causes/origin of libels and/or losses.

A person will sometimes choose an investigator over police in order to keep the information gathered private and away from the public realm. In situations where the police may not be provided with enough evidence to act on a complaint, a private investigator can be used to gather the necessary intelligence. Finally, a lawyer may hire a private investigator to find information that normally would not be of interest to other agencies. For example, if you disagree with the outcome of an investigation that affects you civilly or criminally, a private investigator may be hired to gather evidence to help support your case in court.

What are the licensing requirements for a private investigator in Washington, DC?

The general requirements to be licensed by the Metropolitan Police Departments Security Officers Management Branch are that you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be bonded and hold a business license
  • Successfully pass a criminal history review and FBI background check

In Virginia you are also required to complete a 40 hour course mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, followed by an 8-hour refresher course every two years.

Can a private investigator carry a concealed weapon?

While some jurisdictions do permit an investigator to carry a concealed weapon, it is against the law in the District of Columbia. In some other states (but not all), a private investigator may carry a concealed weapon if he/she possesses a concealed weapons permit issued by local law enforcement - or is an active duty peace officer or a retired peace officer with an endorsement to carry a concealed weapon.

During an investigation, who is a private investigator required to share information with?

The Siroff Group takes discretion very seriously. Unless otherwise instructed by the client, a private investigator will not reveal information acquired during an investigation to anyone other than the client. However, if criminal offenses are involved, information may be released to local law enforcement or the corresponding District Attorney's office.

Is a private investigator similar to a police officer?

No, a private investigator has no law enforcement authority. Even when hired by law enforcement officials to perform an investigation, a private investigator is a regular citizen and can only make citizen's arrests.

Can a private investigator enter or confiscate property without an owner's consent?

No, a private investigator may not enter any private building without the owner's consent. They may not confiscate items without an owner's consent. They are bound by the same laws and restrictions of an ordinary citizen.

What are some of the privacy issues related to surveillance?

In most situations, video recordings and photographic documentation in public spaces are perfectly legal. There are laws in place to protect against the "invasion of privacy" that forbid surveillance cameras in bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and other areas where a person should expect a high level of personal privacy. As privacy laws vary from state to state, it is important that you procure a licensed private investigator who is knowledgeable of the law in his/her jurisdiction. The Siroff Group prides itself on its ability to covertly infiltrate an environment and diligently gather the information required while adhering to all applicable privacy laws.

Does a private investigator have a badge?

No, a private investigator does not carry or wear a badge. However, in most situations, a state will issue an identification card as proof that an investigator is licensed.

 

Services

I think my spouse is cheating on me. Are there ways that I can catch him/her myself?

Prolonged business trips, mysterious phone calls, decreased sexual interest, questionable emails and text messages, unexplained charges on bank statements - search the Internet and you'll see, the signs of an unfaithful spouse or partner are many. While you may be able to document some of these signs yourself, when the time comes to confront the offender - face to face or in a court of law - what you need to support your claim is real, documented proof.

There are many reasons for enlisting the help of a private investigator. First, they are not emotionally involved in the situation, so they are able to serve as a reliable, non-biased observer. Second, they know what questions to ask, where to find evidence, and are less likely to get caught in the act or accused of stalking. Plus, they possess the experience and resources - video cameras, recorders, and surveillance equipment to get the appropriate evidence you need.

Why should I hire a private investigator in cases that involve a missing person. Shouldn't I contact the local authorities?

While we encourage you to contact the local authorities in situations of a missing person, it is important to remember that one of the key challenges of police-led missing persons cases is time. Police will typically only begin looking for a missing person after a specified period of time has passed (24-hours if the person is over the age of 13) and are often reluctant to search for someone who voluntarily left home (teen runaway), are involved in a civil dispute (deadbeat tenant), or chooses to live on the streets (missing relative). Even in situations where they do engage in a search, they are limited in jurisdiction and can only dedicate so much manpower for so long before they may be required to end the investigation.

Missing persons cases require time, focus and the right amount of creative thinking. Hiring The Siroff Group can provide the insurance of a dedicated team who will concentrate on every detail of your case for as long as you wish to retain them.

Aren't all background checks the same - isn't there only one national database?

Correct, there is one "nationwide" criminal database, the FBI database, also known as the NCIC (National Crime Information Center). However, the FBI database is not public record and cannot be legally accessed by anyone other than a criminal justice agency. This is one of the reasons why when performing a background investigation on a subject, The Siroff Group will physically hand-search documents in the actual courthouse of record.

How does a child custody investigation work?

In most situations The Siroff Group will utilize discreet surveillance to determine what happens when a parent is with the child. We will document or video tape any abuse or neglect that we observe and gather any other evidence that might demonstrate how well a child is being cared for. Reckless driving, alcoholism, drug abuse, physical or mental abuse, exposing a child to danger or an unhealthy environment and/or violating a court ordered agreement are all signs of an unfit parent or guardian that can be observed, documented and submitted before the court. Based on the information and evidence gathered, parents and courts can determine what to do to ensure the child's safety.

What kind of information may not be included in a pre-employment background check?

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets national standards for employment screening. The law only applies to all pre-employment background checks performed by any outside company. The law does not apply in situations where the employer conducts background checks in-house. The FCRA states that the following cannot be reported:

  • Bankruptcies after 10 years
  • Civil suits, civil judgments, and records of arrest from date of entry after 7 years
  • Satisfied tax liens after 7 years
  • Accounts placed for collection after 7 years
  • Any other negative information (excluding criminal convictions) after 7 years

The FCRA permits the reporting of criminal convictions indefinitely. The Siroff Group honors these standards and adheres to any local and state laws that apply to pre-employment screening.

subPhoto